"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
 
- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA

 AKKARAIPATTU MASSACRE
-19 FEBRUARY1986

"Upto 80 people mainly Tamil farm workers are said to have been killed and their bodies burned in a massacre in eastern Sri Lanka. The killings happened on Wednesday (19 February 1986), but confirmation of the incident was made only yesterday after community leaders had visited the remote spot near the town of Akkaraipattu, where the farm workers were shot.

According to community leaders, the farmworkers were threshing the paddy fields when troops appeared from the jungle firing into the air. The women were  freed, but the soldiers rounded up the men, tied their hands and made them sit on the road while the soldiers reportedly moved into a nearby village and looted the shops.

The farmworkers were taken back to the paddy fields and shot. Several empty cases of ammunition have been found in the field. The bodies were piled on top of the dry rice harvest and burned.(Humphrey Hawksley reporting in the Guardian, 22 February 1986)


"There is very clear evidence now emanating that violence directed against the Tamil minority is indiscriminate and makes no distinction between those engaged in conflict and innocent civilians...

....Over one hundred and twenty five thousand Sri Lankan Tamils have sought refuge in India, and around forty five thousand more, here in Europe... The stories related by the hapless and tormented refugees arriving on our shores make it clear that the actions of the Government of Sri Lanka have resulted in serious violations of the human rights of Sri Lanka's Tamil citizens living in the Northern and Eastern provinces in that country.

The blatant killings of innocent civilians, through ground, naval and air actions are beginning to look like victimisation of the entire community of Sri Lankan Tamils by the Sri Lankan security forces. Attacks on innocent civilians have been repeated too often, with ever increasing severity. They have been picked up on mere suspicion, brutally tortured and some even killed.." - D.S.Dhillon, Leader of Indian Delegation at 42nd Session of the Commission on Human Rights, March 1986


"Some 6000 Tamils have been killed altogether in the last few years...These events are not accidental. It can be seen that they are the result of a deliberate policy on the part of the Sri Lankan government...Democracy in Sri Lanka does not exist in any real sense.

....The democracy of Sri Lanka has been described in the following terms, terms which are a fair and accurate description: 'The reluctance to hold general elections, the muzzling of the opposition press, the continued reliance on extraordinary powers unknown to a free democracy, arbitrary detention without access to lawyers or relations, torture of detainees on a systematic basis, the intimidation of the judiciary by the executive, the disenfranchisement of the opposition, an executive President who holds undated letters of resignation from members of the legislature, an elected President who publicly declares his lack of care for the lives or opinion of a section of his electorate, and the continued subjugation of the Tamil people by a permanent Sinhala majority, within the confines of an unitary constitutional frame, constitute the reality of 'democracy', Sri Lankan style.'" - Senator A.L.Missen, Chairman, Australian Parliamentary Group of Amnesty International, Australian Senate Hansard, 13 March 1986


"Arbitrary killings of hundreds of Tamil civilians, often in reprisal for attacks by armed Tamil groups, continued to be reported as armed conflict between such groups and government forces intensified. A major concern was the 'disappearance' of well over 300 young Tamil men during the last three years; a number of them were feared to have died as a result of secret shootings in army or police custody or as a result of torture...

....In one case, eye witnesses reported that at least 28 young men were taken away...on 17th of May by (government) STF personnel. There was evidence that the STF shot and killed them and disposed of their bodies in secret..." - Amnesty International Annual Report, 1987 for period January to December 1986


"In the light of the consistent, serious allegations of torture and killings brought by responsible Non Governmental Organisations... is it credible to believe that an objective inquiry would not reveal a single instance of ill treatment of suspects, as the Sri Lankan courts have apparently concluded? Is it credible that not a single unlawful action by the security forces has been judicially condemned?...

.....The Government of Sri Lanka has suggested, publicly and privately, that interest in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka will in some way support separatism and terrorism... Without denying the relevance of separatist demands to the conflict in Sri Lanka, in the context of the (UN Human Rights) Commission, this is simply a false issue raised by the Government in order to deflect the legitimate concern with human rights." - Intervention of Hurst Hannum, Procedural Aspects of International Law Institute at 42nd Session of the Commission on Human Rights, March 1986

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